Vittoria agli Assassini! (Victory to the Assassins!) - The rallying battle cry of the Paladin soldiers.The Paladin Knights are the frontline soldiers of the Assassin Order, forming their primary battle power against the wars with the Knights Templar. Sometimes referred to as the Carolean Knights in honor of its founder Charles IX (Darius the Enlightened), their notably different tactics proved them one of the deadliest military forces in the Spiral.
The Paladins Edit
Most of the Paladin soldiers were Assassini from the Assassin Brotherhood itself, in the same way that many of its officers were the Assassini Maestri. While it is true that the Order had considerable manpower and funds to uphold a massive army, the Brotherhood much rather erred on the cautious side for the value they placed on each and every individual within the ranks of the Paladins: upholding strict discipline that made it entirely possible for even a small battalion of those soldiers to overpower a much larger force.
Morals and Religious Beliefs Edit
Strict discipline, as stated above, is essential for the Paladin Knights to hold on to their highly offensive tactics. However, the beliefs of the Knights is rather difficult to explain, seeing that during the different reigns of the different Grandmasters, they've held on to different ideals among them. Overall, though, it is their strict belief in justice, truth, order that holds them to it: the three creeds which the Armada Supreme Commander Kane embodied, leading to many of them to worship him as a god of sorts, a model that they all strives to become.
The three creeds are also drilled into the mindsets of each of the Knights during training as well as when they are present on the battlefield. It is strictly forbidden for the soldiers to raid any sort of settlement, even if it is within a world conquered after a battle, and anyone who is caught doing so will be strictly disciplined and likely even ejected from among the ranks of the Paladin Knights. Following this, anyone found guilty of sedition and anarchy would have their crimes publicly announced before their execution, in hopes that by the death of one, they would spare the death of a thousand others.
In order to create a bond of kinship between soldiers, officers would often remind each one of them that during battle, the only ones they can truly rely upon is the soldier next to them. Not only that, while on the march, all soldiers are expected to help with setting up the campgrounds with each other's aide, under the watchful eyes of the officer commanding their regiment. In addition, dueling, or fighting of any sort is strictly outlawed among the Paladin ranks, with anyone found guilty of it subject to immediate ejection from among the Paladins.
Paladins are also expected to immediately answer to any of their superior officers, but most importantly, they are expected to give complete obedience to the Supreme Commander, or in other words, the Grandmaster of the Assassin Order, as well as complete loyalty as many of the officers already are. This is reinforced by the current Grandmaster Ulysses' rank among the Armada, with many believing that he is the link between the Order and the highest commanding ranks of the Armada (the elite court), and therefore, the closest to their "god" Kane.
Paladin uniforms differ from each other depending on the type of soldier that they are. Generally though, they bear a uniform color scheme with blue and gold.
Infantry uniforms mostly consist of a blue greatcoat with golden yellow cuffs, with white breeches and yellow vests, finishing with leather boots that had light steel greaves attached with buckles: each infantry regiment differentiated from each other by the bell cuirass they usually would wear, bearing the number of their regiment inscribed upon it with Aquilan numerals.
Officers however, had a much longer coat, brass buttons and black vest beneath the coat with white breeches and brass buckled boots, topping off with a feathered tricorn to separate them from the regular infantry (the regiment number stitched into the side of the tricorn hat).
Cavalry soldiers had much more armor than the regular infantry, dressing more like the Marleybonean life guards in that they had a bell cuirass just as the infantry does, although much heavier set and usually worn over a thick, long sleeved tunic. Armored gauntlets are a must for all cavalrymen, most of the time being elaborately decorated with the Assassin Order's insignia upon the left (which also bears a larger, longer variation of the Hidden Blade).
Their helmets are more like a combination of the Life Guard helms (taking the feathered plume) combined with a Aquilan soldier's helm, with the Order's insignia upon the forehead: completing their uniform with knee length leather boots with steel spurs attached to the heels. Paladin Cavalry officers though, had a slightly more elaborate helmet with a battle mask on hinges that they put down during battle as both a intimidation tactic and a way for their troops to locate them on the battlefield. They are also easily recognized by their billowing cloaks, which are often worn around their shoulders and clasped on by chain clasps attached to their spoulders; with the addition of any medals they may have earned attached to their chestplates.
Most of the infantry are armed with arquebus muskets, as well as a saber in case of close combat, however, many of the solders also armed with a single Hidden Blade strapped to their left arm in case of some unforeseeable situation: a bag of ammunition often strapped to their waist. All infantry soldiers bore a bayonet on their muskets for when the Paladin Knights charge in, after their signature tactic of "hold your fire until you see the white in their eyes" have been applied. During their marches, infantry soldiers would carry those muskets against their left shoulder, cradling the stock on their left palm while their sabers are carried upon their right hip via a leather belt.
The Cavalry had a slightly wider range of weapons, although it had generally remained to be the saber/pistol combination - with the pistol in a holster strapped across their chest - and sometimes long pikes to break enemy cavalry charges. Officers of the cavalry usually held on to a saber that they both used in combat as well as to symbolize their rank among the Paladins. Should a officer desire to retire, or must pass on their position, this saber would be given to their successor, along with the officer's armor.
The Knights are generally divided into the two classes infantry and cavalry, which are then divided into the smaller regiments. Each of the regiments usually had one Major General overseeing most of their operations, as well as one Lieutenant General who both served as the Major General's secretary and second in command (often given a helmet with a silver battlemask to represent such when in the Cavalry). Certain few of the Generals also serve as members upon the Order's elite council, and are expected to answer any time the Supreme Commander comes on to the field.
Sometimes, below the Lieutenant General are the captains of the regiment, each responsible for leading small recon teams when necessary during a battle to scout out enemy strength. More often then not though, the rank of Captain is absent among the regiments, and recon teams are selected by the Major General based on battle merit and performance in general.
There is also a special task force called the Guardia del Re, or the King's Guard, named after the unofficial title of the Grandmaster of the Assassins (the Assassin King). This special corp consists of usually 100 men at max, serving as the Assassin Order's variation to the Valencian Royal Guard of the Supreme Commander of the Armada, with the Grandmaster himself at the head as the Capitano Generale (Captain General). Those soldiers rarely left the Valencian Assassin headquarters after its establishment as the seat of the Grandmaster's power.
Tactics and Formations Edit
The infantry stands as the primary battleground force of the Order, although its current numbers is unknown. However, it is known at the moment that the infantry had a penchant and expertise in mounting highly offensive tactics that results in staggering victories for the Order, even if the Order had lesser men than the opposing forces. Among those tactics stands one known as "iron will march", otherwise known by the motto "do not fire until you see the white of their eyes".
The "iron will march" or IWM is the main tactics used by the infantry soldiers. To sum it up, the Paladin infantry, in four ranks or so, would advance across the battlefield slowly and steadily, until they could essentially see the white in their enemies' eyes, before opening fire upon the enemy: resisting any and all attempts by the enemy to scatter their forces using cannonballs or even gunfire. This method required a extreme amount of discipline and will (hence the reason for its name), therefore it usually is enough to frighten enemy forces into retreating from the face of the Paladins.
It is right around this time when the Paladins would draw their weapons and charge the scattering enemy forces, while the other ranks hung back and fired their weapons before joining in on the fray of the battle frenzy. Sometimes, the Paladin Cavalry would also sweep in, more often in a pincer formation from the sides, trampling enemies beneath their steeds. As a result of this, there is usually very little loss for the Paladin soldiers: the fear and panic caused by their tactics doing all the work for them in scattering the enemies.
This method eventually underwent some changes during the Polarian War. While the forward march had been retained, the infantry now maintained a steady jog when they are advancing upon the enemy, so to close the distance quicker and reduce the chance of casualties down even lower than it already had from the fleeing enemies.
Cavalry Tactics Edit
The Cavalry maintained usually a wedge shaped formation when it comes to charging the enemies on the battlefield; headed by the Major General. It is one of the most clustered formations possible, therefore requiring each of the Knights to have the capability of quickly splintering away, should the need arise for a Knight to do so, in case of the cavalry coming under heavy artillery fire by the enemy ranks.
It is not unusual for many of the Knights in the front ranks to be wielding long pikes during a charge, used to break infantry formations or even enemy cavalry charges, while the row behind them wielded the usual cavalry saber. So while the front row breaks into enemy lines and scatteres their resistance, it becomes the responsibility of the ones lingering behind them to cut down any soldiers attempting to flee the charges of the Paladins. Rarely though, the Paladins would put to use the pistol they are issued in a way not too different from a firing squad: lining up knee to knee while they drew their wheellock guns, firing upon the command of the Major General upon enemy ranks.
Cooperation Between the Units Edit
It was cooperation between the infantry and the cavalry that won the Order so many of its battles. More often than not, the Cavalry would form a sort of guard around the infantry in the center (occasionally, there would also be a column of horsemen splitting down the middle of the infantry formation), while the heavy artillery and snipers form the forces in the back.
During a battle, the infantry would march in first, firing down on the enemy ranks before charging in. As the enemies scatter, the Paladin Cavalry soldiers ride in, pikes out and ready or saber up in the air, frightening any and all that is considering resistance, enough for the heavy artillery to quickly and easily take out any of them from the back, if said hostile forces had not been struck down by the cavalry first. During this chaos, more and more of the infantry march in to join, ignoring the hailstorm of cannonfire and enemy attempts to scatter their ranks, eventually breaking into a charge while drawing their sabers if they do not have the time to reload.
Once the cavalry rounds up anyone that attempts a final stand, the infantry would commandeer any of the enemy heavy artillery, turning them around to fire upon anyone else that attempts to flee as to cut them down before they can call for any sort of resistance. Leaders are usually captured by the infantry, and escorted back to the field commander responsible for leading the entire battle operation under the watchful eyes of the cavalry soldiers. Sometimes, the cavalry would also be responsible for rounding up the prisoners, or the slightly less glorious job of eliminating any more resistance by chasing them down and quickly finishing them.